When I was little, one of my favorite books to read with my mother was A Mouse in the House by Henrietta. Honestly, there was very little reading involved. This beloved childhood book of mine was in actuality a large book of assorted two-page long pictures in which my mother and I were charged with finding a tiny mouse amidst a seemingly endless sea of refuse and household crap. Think of it as a Where’s Waldo? for rodents.
Now I’m grown, the book spends its days stored in a box within the closets of my mother’s North Carolina home, and I sometimes think back on the memories and smile. I find myself thinking back on all those fun pre-bedtime mouse hunts more often of late. The reason, you ask? It’s quite simple, dear reader. Now that I’m grown and sharing a big boy apartment with two lovely ladies in Brooklyn, I have my very own mouse in the house.
I can hear the cute little bastard scurrying around as I write. At this very moment he is probably planning his next escapade into the common area. He (we have decided this furry nuisance is male based solely upon nothing at all) likes to climb through our oven. In the middle of our game nights and learly hour conversations, we’ll sometimes pause at the faint scraping sounds of his itty bitty nails clawing his way up the back of our cookery device. The sounds get louder the higher he climbs until sometimes he builds up enough courage to poke his head out of a burner and say hello.
We’ve named him Hoyt. Hoyt Schermerhorn.
While I’m not here to dole out death sentences to the admittedly adorable but incredibly likely-to-be-carrying-disease vermin, Hoyt has overstayed his welcome. Our relationship has had its ups and downs since his arrival many months ago. At his first brazen appearance, I felt a strong connection and a modicum of respect for the little dude. The girls were asleep, the lights of the apartment all off save the ceiling light in my room, and I lay on my bed reading some article about something of little import. After a long day of lazing, I was all ready to turn in for the night when in scurries Hoyt.
If I’m being honest here, I was taken aback. I didn’t scream, I didn’t gasp. I didn’t actually manage much of anything. Hoyt waddled his tiny self about two feet into my room and paused to look straight at me. We spent one of those eternal seconds in a trans-species mind meld sharing all the details of our lives up to this point. Apparently he was disinterested in my theatrical and metaphysical pursuits because, after filling my head with some nonsense about eating garbage, he broke the telepathic link and ran like hell into my cluttered closet. Now that elicited a reaction from me, let me tell you.
I didn’t want to hurt the little guy. After he took all of that short moment to share his hopes and dreams with me? Never. But I couldn’t very well have him jank up my shit either. So there I was at 2am tearing out every last thing in my closet not attached to a hanger. Slowly, tediously and ever so carefully (so as not to squash the miniscule mouse dude or have him drop dead from a stress related heart attack) I emptied the closet floor until all that was left was him, me and an empty box. My plan? Catch this two inch fur ball with the box!
Lesson learned: never ever make plans with a mouse you don’t know. He’ll just fuck off and do what he wants to do…which in this particular case meant he evaded capture and ran like fuzzy gray lightning back through the stove into his mouse cave. At least I haven’t seen him make his way into my room ever again.
Occasionally he’ll poke out his head to remind us he’s still around. Of course, if the stovetop visits weren’t enough, his running through the walls at all hours is another great reminder. Three factions have formed regarding Hoyt’s residence.
Olivia wants him gone. Relocated. Captured and sent away into another poor sap’s apartment for a happy life of mousing around.
Kayleigh wants him dead. Nothing inhumane, but assuredly deceased.
As for me, friends? There was a point where I wanted nothing more in the situation than to catch him and keep him as a pet. Now I just want a cat.
A mouse in the house makes a great game for children and grownups alike. Hunting pages for mouse imagery can be quite a thrill. But this mouse in my house is another story entirely. Hoyt, consider this your formal eviction notice. Get out, little dude, before we have to take action.
It’s late, I’m tired, and Hoyt is scratching the walls reminding me it’s time to turn in for the night. Be well, dear reader, and may you never find a mouse in your house.